Title: Yeast of Eden (A Pancake House Mystery Book 4) by Sarah Fox
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Suspense, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Yeast of Eden – Cute, compelling cozy cover
In USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox’s delicious new Pancake House Mystery, it’s up to Marley McKinney to discover the waffle truth behind a rival’s murder . . .
Winter has come to Wildwood Cove, and riding in on the chill is Wally Fowler. Although he’s been away for years, establishing his reputation as the self-proclaimed Waffle King, the wealthy blowhard has returned to the coastal community to make money, not friends—by pitting his hot and trendy Waffle Kingdom against Marley McKinney’s cozy pancake house, The Flip Side. Wally doesn’t see anything wrong in a little healthy competition, until he’s murdered in his own state-of-the art kitchen.
Marley isn’t surprised when the authorities sniff around The Flip Side for a motive, but it’s her best friend Lisa who gets grilled, given her sticky history with the victim. When a second murder rocks the town, it makes it harder than ever for Marley to clear Lisa’s name. Marley’s afraid that she’s next in line to die—and the way things are looking, the odds of surviving her investigation could be stacked against her.
Protagonist Marley McKinney owns The Flip Side, a pancake diner that sounds very quaint and perfect for a small town on the Washington coast. She has the ideal support characters surrounding her, including friend Lisa and her chef extraordinaire, Ivan Kaminski. The man is a wizard in the kitchen, imposing anywhere else, and he’s easy to love, despite his scowls and growls. She has inherited a beachfront Victorian and has a boyfriend, Brett, who goes to Seattle when his dad has a heart attack. The small coastal town of Wildwood Cove is…well…cold. But it would be even if it were not winter. It’s the Washington coastline.
One of the town’s old residents, Wally Flower (aka the Waffle King) has come back to create a state-of-the-art breakfast restaurant that would surely offer competition to Marley, if the man wasn’t so obnoxious that almost everyone in town who remembers him wouldn’t boycott his establishment. His sister, Vicky, has accompanied him as well as a side buddy Chester.
My first experience with both the author and the series and this one written in first person, noticed telling whether than showing. Functions as a standalone, however, and once brought up to date, also discovered the author has carefully woven in a multi-layered plot that quickly grabbed my interest and kept me engaged.
Wally is found murdered in his restaurant in a most bizarre way, and it isn’t long before her friend Lisa and Ivan are inexplicably viewed as persons of interest. You know she can’t let that happen! But it is nearing Christmas and with her main guy away with family, Marley decides it is time to get up in the attic to retrieve some Christmas decorations. Somehow, after moving her things in, she’d missed an old trunk in which she now finds a diary from a well-removed relation detailing what leads into another mystery. She’ll investigate that as well.
Even with two opposing threads going, it’s not difficult to keep up with each and both send in some hit and run red herrings. The well-plotted storyline takes on some interesting hypotheses, most sounding plausible, and I must admit I did not guess who eventually emerged as the antagonist. In the meantime, she reluctantly picks up a couple “helpers” with her investigation of the murder, which I found a little disturbing, and Brett returns to pick up where he left off, introducing mushy (romance without benefits?) into the storyline.
While the mystery of the murder was compelling, it was actually the sub-plot, that of her relative that I found of most interest, although both will have you speculating. I certainly had a solid theory on that one and nailed it, albeit also with just a slight twist. A satisfying outcome. So who killed Wally? I know, but..huh? A taut and head-spinning climax in the murder mystery though that will keep you riveted.
I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I’ll be looking forward to the first of her new series and in the meantime recommend this one to any who enjoy an engaging cozy mystery you can work on solving.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel. http://www.authorsarahfox.com
©2018 V Williams